Volunteers Help Clean Prospect Park After a Decrease in Funding and Increase in Attendance

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Franciscan, Parks Department, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

If you take a walk through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, you will likely see trash. It’s a sight that has become common in many NYC public spaces.

“Usage is through the roof, so if usage is through the roof, of course that means more trash,” New York City Councilmember Brad Lander told Currents News.

People using the parks isn’t the only factor behind the garbage, it’s also a lack of money.

City Hall slashed 14 percent of the parks department’s budget. Also, as Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance explains, the pandemic has hurt their other revenue streams too.

“About 25 percent of our budget was lost because we rely on events and concession revenue in addition to individual donations,” she said. “All of that stopped with COVID the weddings and things that people usually have in the park are no longer happening, so it’s a huge hit to our budget.”

Currently they have about 75 people caring for the park, normally that number is closer to 120.

To bridge the gap, the alliance is asking the community for help, volunteers who can help clean.

“Seeing the garbage is painful, you don’t want to see this beautiful place made ugly and disrespected but the thing we can do about it is roll up our sleeves together and go pick up the trash. It’s a beautiful thing, some problems are hard to solve, garbage all you need are some gloves and a trash bag,” Lander explained while helping to clean the park.

Caring for the environment is a major issue for Pope Francis and for Brother Joseph Bach of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn.  He’s impressed by what the Prospect Park volunteers are doing, it’s a step everyone can take.

“We do see a lot of trash lately, especially because of the pandemic, we will see masks or gloves or whatever out there. And I think part of being a good steward, is, let’s try to pick some of this up,” Brother Bach said.

In the park, volunteers like Tamar Cohn and her daughter are enthused so many are cleaning up.

“I think it just validates my point that New York is going to get better, and I think it gives me hope for humanity,” Cohn said.

The Prospect Park Alliance is looking for volunteers every Monday through the month of August. For more information you can check out their website: https://www.prospectpark.org/get-involved/volunteer/